Here's a few words of wisdom from Dr. Jon the vet....
Fireworks are common on New Years Eve, so if your cat is frightened by the noise, this information could help.
The combination of loud noises and bright lights can scare animals, even those that don't normally have a history of noise phobias.
Cats fear loud noises. And while they become frightened and often even terrified, they do not usually exhibit phobic behavior (where they become dysfunctional and can harm themselves) like many dogs do.
Still, most cats hate loud noises like fireworks and thunder, and will turn into real "scaredy cats" when they hear the first booming "crack" of noise. They become extremely nervous and immediately run for cover.
Hiding is a cat's way of seeking protection from danger. So during fireworks or loud thunderstorms, a cat will often seek refuge under a bed or inside a closet. And while most cats emerge from their hiding places unharmed, they feel frightened and anxious throughout the experience.
Many of our pet lovers have asked me what they can do when their pets become anxious or nervous and I think this is especially important to talk about now with New Years Eve.
So, what can you do to help keep your cat calm during the year-end fireworks?
Here are some suggestions:
1. If your cat is very frightened by fireworks, consider staying at home so you will be there while the noise is happening.
2. Some cats are very sensitive to people's moods and may be influenced by the way that you react to the noise. It is best to act happy and calm to help reassure your cat that all is well.
3. If you must leave your cat at home alone during the fireworks, keep him indoors and try to keep him comfortable. Try turning on the radio, television, fan or air conditioner as "white noise". Make sure you provide a comfortable hiding place or "safe place" for your cat to hide if he is scared during the fireworks.
So, the best way to deal with this issue is to be prepared. Before the fireworks begin, anticipate your cat's reaction to these loud noises. Whenever possible try to avoid exposing your cat to fireworks. If this is not possible, do everything that you can to make your cat feel more comfortable and secure. Talk to your cat in a light, cheerful, reassuring tone that sends a comforting message that the noise is no big deal. Make your cat's environment as peaceful as possible.
Have a happy and safe New Years!